In June, online fashion retailer Missguided was heavily criticised for advertising a bikini that cost just £1. The swimsuit quickly sold out, but critics online and in newspapers questioned how the group could afford to sell it so cheaply without making use of unsustainable or unethical business practices. Missguided responded by saying it had cost more than £1 to make the bikini, but it had absorbed the costs “as a gift to our customers”, adding “it is sourced to the same high standards as all of our other products”.
Missguided is signed up to labour market initiatives such as the Ethical Trading Initiative and Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. But the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee listed the company – among others – as “less engaged” in a report looking at consumption and sustainability in the fashion industry (published in February 2019, and excerpted below).
That said, it would not be fair to single out Missguided for criticism. The entire fashion industry – and ‘fast fashion’ companies in particular – are under increasing pressure from customers and investors to improve their standards when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.